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Washington Nationals’ prospect Brady House and a sort-of lost season…

Brady House went on the IL in June and never returned to game action

Mark Twain Prize Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

“We had four or five guys that we really liked,” Washington Nationals’ Assistant GM and VP of Scouting Ops Kris Kline told reporters of the board they set up for the 2021 Draft, in which the Nats’ top pick was the 11th overall selection. “Four or five potential five-tool players, [and] building the board like we build it and just didn’t see that, in our opinion, that Cade Cavalli from the last year, we didn’t see [2020 1st Round pick] Cade Cavalli in this draft. So, we were focusing on those other guys, and I remember when I was at a game, and I don’t text [Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo] very often or call him, but after I saw Brady [House], I texted [Rizzo], and he’s getting excited, and he said, ‘Is he going to be there?’

“And I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I think he’s going to be gone in the first six.’

“So, Brady House at 11. Pretty happy about that.”

Mark Twain Prize Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Nationals selected the then-18 and now-19-year-old shortstop out of Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, Georgia with their top selection.

“We were super-excited he was there when we picked,” Kline continued. “He’s a high school kid that has great size, really strong, big power, a well-above average arm strength, and for a guy his size he can really really run. Got chance to see him maybe three times this year, and met the kid, talked mostly about his truck, but he was a nice, personable kid, really good makeup, hard worker, and high school shortstop now.

“There’s a part of me that thinks that he can maybe stay there, you know, but he might get too big and end up at third base, where he’s got a chance to potentially win a Gold Glove.”

House told reporters after he was picked he wanted to prove he could stay at short, and thus far as a pro he has, with 16 games in the Florida Complex League in 2021 in which he played short, and 36 games there this season (along with eight as a DH), and he got off to a good start at the plate too, with a .322/.394/.576 line in 66 plate appearances in ‘21, and a .393/.470/.518 line in his first 13 games for Class-A Fredericksburg as of April 22nd this past season, when big league manager Davey Martinez talked about his development.

“He’s doing well,” Martinez said of the shortstop, who started the season ranked as the top infielder in the organization on MLB Pipeline’s rankings. “He really is. He’s hitting the ball really well, and he’s actually improving on his defense. That’s good to see. He’s hungry. He’s eager. But he’s learning every day, so it’s fun getting reports knowing that one of your top guys is doing really well.”

House had a .278/.356/.375 line, eight doubles, and three home runs over 45 games and 203 plate appearances on the year before he ended up on the IL in June.

He didn’t return to competitive action this season.

“I think (we are) looking to see to get him ready for Spring Training,” Fredericksburg manager Jake Lowery told FBB’s David Driver in late August this past summer.

“I’m not sure of the medical side of things.”

“They are trying to take it slow and get him ready for next year,” Lowery added.

Nationals minor league early camp Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“House is just a guy that, [19] years old, had a terrific first half of the season before he got COVID and then he got a little bit of a back injury and looks like he’s going to be a power-hitting type of middle of the lineup guy for us in the near future,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies in late September.

In his season-ending talk with reporters days later, Rizzo was asked why House had never returned to the field after June 23rd.

“Well, he didn’t come back and play in any games,” Rizzo explained, “but he’s doing baseball activities, and we’re expecting him to be good to go for minor league Spring Training next year.”

Asked if it was a major concern to have a 19-year-old dealing with back issues early in his pro career, the GM in D.C. said House was putting in the work and doing much better as the 2022 campaign came to an end.

“Well, you know, having a back issue myself it doesn’t feel good, I know that,” Rizzo said. “But I think that he’s doing well in his rehab, and I think he’s well on his way to getting back on the field in Spring Training and being ready to go.”